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Email from a Student

I get the feeling many adults feel they will never need self-defense.  The other evening I actually used my training:

I was jogging at twilight and had the misfortune to have to run past a group of young adults at an apartment complex in Astoria.  Some idiot thought it would be cute to block my path on the sidewalk and then step out of the way at the last minute.  So as I passed him I faked an elbow strike to his head, just to let him know I did not appreciate his antics.  A second after that, as I was still jogging I heard footsteps picking up in speed behind me.  As it was twilight and I never wear my glasses when I run, I am near-sighted, I could not clearly see much of anything at a distance.  However, I could tell that this guy was just as fast if not faster than me, just as tall and quite lean, so out-running him was not an option.  Thus, I had to make a split-second decision as to what I was going to do to defend myself.  I stopped, turned, stepped into a Krav Maga ready stance (this is not a neutral stance or even a warning stance–this was the real thing–a fighting stance), with my hands open yet up, in front of my face, my lead leg forward and my rear leg cocked with the heal slightly raised to push off on.  As this dork entered my personal space, he was forced to stop in mid-trot as I executed a front kick.

The front kick is a fairly hidden kick, especially at night, if done correctly as the body tends to hide it due to foreshortening of the extended limb.  I felt the attacker’s body stop as the ball of my kicking foot touched his chest lightly.  The kid had fast reflexes.  To me he was just that, an 18 year old punk with finger-less, metal knuckled, black leather gloves.  His raised his hands and said “What’s with the ball kick?!”  I paused and thought to myself, the last thing I want is to go to jail because I put this kid in the hospital in front of his apartment complex.  I replied, “Do you know who you are messing with?”  His friends called after him to stop what he was doing.  Great, I thought, now he is trying to save face and I have a small audience.  He called back to his friends, “We are just sparring.”  I was tired as it was the end of a long day, and I had not slept well as I was adjusting to my new shift at work thanks to my boss.  I said, noticing the ridiculous, road-warrior, gladiator, style gloves, “What’s with the gloves?”  He said nothing and shrugged an elbow as if to throw a fake punch to see if I would counter it.  I did not as I could see it was fake.  “Take off the gloves.”  I said for a number of reasons: 1. I was hoping to distract him a tad, hoping he would cool-down a bit, 2. I wanted to draw attention to his knuckle studs as if he was ever stopped by the police, they would probably consider the gloves, deadly weapons, indicating that this kid was dumber than I thought wearing them in public, 3. I wanted to see if he had a sense of fair-play and thus would take off his obvious weapons to make our potential match more even, as I clearly had no weapons.  He replied, “I can’t,” in an arrogant way, which reminded me of a panting dog waiting to eat.  Thus, recalling his fake punch, I had an idea.  I pointed to his right and said, “Look over there!”  He purposely looked to the opposite side, suspecting a trick.  When he turned his head, I pivoted and continued to run in the direction I was going–but much faster this time.  My hunch was right–he wanted to be with his buddies more than chasing after me in the opposite direction.  Hence the conflict was over.

I finished my jog and went home.

  • Nina


    The article sounds like a scene from a Jet Li movie. The good guy always wins.